WATCH Demands

(1972) WATCH- Women Act To Control Healthcare, led a campaign to try to save the Chicago Maternity Center which offered safe home birth services to Chicago's impoverished west side. These were their demands. (November-1972)

(Editors Note: WATCH- Women Act To Control Healthcare, was organized by members of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. WATCH led a campaign to try to save the Chicago Maternity Center which offered safe home birth services to Chicago's impoverished west side. The Center eventually was forced to close despite public protest. Below is the text of the demands put out by WATCH.)

For the past 77 years the Chicago Maternity Center has provided outstanding maternal, home delivery and childcare services to the people of the Chicago area according to their ability to pay. In no other city in America does such a community based clinic serve the needs of urban women wishing to have their babies at home. In addition, the CMC provides unique medical training in community medicine and provides 24 hour emergency obstetrical care and transport as no other agency in the city does.

The CMC points the direction in which all women’s medicine should be moving. Therefore, the only progressive action that the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Maternity Center and Northwestern University can take is to maintain and expand present services and certain not the opposite, to phase out the present services of the CMC or to relocate them our of the Maxwell Street neighborhood into the new Womens Hospital by Lake Shore Drive.

If the Board is truly responsible to the Center, all of the necessary money, influence and energies will immediately be directed toward fulfilling the following demands:

1. To maintain a 24 hour home delivery service the Board MUST provide:

a. One Medical Director paid by the Board of the Maternity Center with a tenured appointment to the faculty of Northwestern University Medical School, to work full time for the CMC with time devoted appropriately to the needs of the Clinic and Home Delivery Service.

b. At least two full time M. D.’s with training of Resident level or above to alternate call with the Director for Home Delivery Service.

c. An ambulance capable of safely transporting premature newborns and mothers to the hospital. (Such ambulance service could be partially financed by the Board of Health and Cook County

2. Improvements in the physical plant of the Maxwell Street Dispensary.

3. Improvements in the Clinic include:

a. Provisions for a Prepared Childbirth Clinic.

b. At least one 3 hour clinic during non—working hours (evenings or Saturdays) for working women.

4. We emphasize that responsibility for the Chicago Maternity Center services rests with the Board of the CMC. Leaving patients in the hands of representatives of other institutions without a specific contracted agreement is irresponsible and negligent. If the Chicago Maternity Center services are to be incorporated along with the name into the new Women’s Hospital & Maternity Center, then any money pledged to the building of that new institution by CMC and members of the CMC Board should be conditional upon the maintenance of adequate staff and provisions for a 24 hour home delivery and emergency service for the City of Chicago by that new institution.

5. To insure planning for comprehensive services, Board membership with voting privileges should incorporate representatives of staff and community organization which are served by and interested in the Chicago Maternity Center. WATCH demands voting representation in the Board of Directors of the CMC and the Planning Committee of the new Women’s Hospital and Chicago Maternity Center. We demand that the Board submit its plan to appropriate health planning groups such as the Citizen ’s Health Organization.

6. We want public disclosure of any and all information on plans for building, programs and services of the new Women’s Hospital & Maternity Center.